Neha Patil (Editor)

1978 World 600

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Official name  World 600
1978 World 600
Date  May 28, 1978 (1978-May-28)
Location  Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, North Carolina
Course  Permanent racing facility 1.500 mi (2.414 km)
Distance  400 laps, 600 mi (965 km)
Weather  Temperatures reaching up to 84.9 °F (29.4 °C); wind speeds up to 8 miles per hour (13 km/h)

The 1978 World 600, the 19th running of the event, was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that was held on May 28, 1978, at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina.


By 1980, NASCAR had completely stopped tracking the year model of all the vehicles and most teams did not take stock cars to the track under their own power anymore.


Zsa Zsa Gabor served as the celebrity grand marshal; sharing time in the spotlight with NASCAR team owner Robert Yates and Buddy Parrott. There were 40 drivers on the starting grid. A live audience of 125,000 enthusiastic NASCAR fans would see a total of 43 changes in the first-place position along with 32 laps under a caution flag. The entire race from green flag to checkered flag lasted for four hours and twenty minutes.

During the first 100 laps of this 400-lap extravaganza, David Pearson, Darrell Waltrip, and Donnie Allison were fighting it out for the lead. The final laps would become a constant battle between Donnie Allison, Darrell Waltrip, and Benny Parsons for the first-place finish. Waltrip would eventually defeat Donnie Allison by a time of two seconds on a stopwatch in his 1978 Chevrolet Monte Carlo vehicle. Joining him on victory lane would be his wife Stevie. As a couple, they embraced each other to the admiring fans; who were unaware that Darrell Waltrip would become a championship performer during the 1980s. Jerry Jolly would acquire the last-place finish in the race due to problems with his suspension on lap 20. The lowest driver to actually finish the race was D.K. Ulrich.

After the race, Cale Yarborough would only be 30 points behind Benny Parsons in the overall championship standings. The number of points for Dale Earnhardt and Ron Hutcherson were never recorded into the NASCAR data banks for future storage. The entire prize purse for this race was $310,491 ($1,140,103.94 when adjusted for inflation); Waltrip received a then-incredible amount of $48,608 to take home to his family ($178,485.60 when adjusted for inflation) while Jerry Jolly had to take home a meager $1,090 ($4,002.41 when adjusted for inflation). Roland Wlodyka would end his professional driving career with the NASCAR Cup Series after the end of this racing event.

Racial controversy

Willy T. Ribbs was expected to be at this NASCAR Cup Series event, being a popular African-American race car driver of the time. After failing to appear at two special practice sessions, he was sacked and replaced with then-obscure driver Dale Earnhardt; who back then specialized in short track racing and was not yet a serious championship contender. A lot of traditionalists chided the opportunities that Ribbs received; getting into the higher levels of NASCAR simply because he was black.

Finishing order

* Driver failed to finish race


  • Start of race: David Pearson had the advantage over all the other drivers as the green flag was waved
  • Lap 20: Problems with the vehicle's suspension forced Jerry Jolly into becoming the last-place finisher
  • Lap 117: Caution due to a four-car accident on turn 2; caution ended on lap 129
  • Lap 129: The vehicle's throttle was dying, Jimmy Means had to exit the event early
  • Lap 140: Harry Gant managed to overheat his racing vehicle after racing at high speeds
  • Lap 157: Neil Bonnett overheated his vehicle's engine and had to leave the race
  • Lap 184: Connie Saylor actually overheated his engine after racing for so long
  • Lap 198: The vehicle's engine couldn't stand any more high speed racing, forcing Dave Marcis out of the race
  • Lap 207: Lennie Pond had a terminal crash
  • Lap 308: Tighe Scott had a rough time with his vehicle's engine and had to accept a 31st-place finish
  • Lap 318: The steering on Ronnie Thomas's vehicle wasn't raceworthy anymore, ending his day on the track
  • Lap 343: Engine problems forced Jim Vandiver to be the final DNF of the race
  • Lap 368: Caution due to debris on turn 4; caution ended on lap 371
  • Lap 396: Dale Earnhardt managed to spin his vehicle, caution ended on lap 398
  • Lap 400: David Pearson and Benny Parsons had an accident on turn 2
  • Finish: Darrell Waltrip was officially declared the winner of the event
  • References

    1978 World 600 Wikipedia

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